CBA makes coaches, teams jointly responsible for offseason violations


Some of you have asked why the NFL fined both the Seahawks and coach Pete Carroll for violating the rules prohibiting contact during offseason workouts.  It’s a new twist to the 2011 labor deal, which contains enhanced penalties for the team and the coach if/when offseason workouts result in contact.

Prior to 2011, the labor deal prohibited offseason contact, and a certain amount of it routinely was ignored.  Only in egregious cases would the league get involved, with teams losing one or more OTA days and fines rarely if ever imposed.

Carroll didn’t receive a fine when the Seahawks violated the rules two years ago, presumably under the portion of Article 21, Section 8 that allows the Commissioner to reduce or eliminate fines if the violation resulted from a good-faith interpretation of the rules or if the violation wasn’t “material.”

This time around, the Commissioner opted to fine Carroll more than $100,000 — but less than the $250,000 specified for a second offense.  The Seahawks were fined more than $200,000 for the second offense — but less than the $500,000 specified for a second offense.  This suggests that the Commissioner believed the certain circumstances justified a reduction in the fines contemplated by the CBA.

While the Seahawks reportedly have lost “at least two minicamp practices in 2015,” the rules contemplate the elimination not of minicamp practices but of a week of OTAs.  If two violations occur in the same league year, the team also loses a fourth-round draft pick.

Violations of the rules against offseason contact are inevitable, given that players are competing for roster spots and depth-chart position.  But the Seahawks have become the first team to receive a fine for violating offseason rules under the new CBA, and Carroll has become the first coach to personally be fined for an offseason workout violation.  Whatever happened was noteworthy, but also isolated.

Otherwise, the fines would have been much higher, and the Seahawks would have lost a fourth-round draft pick.

39 responses to “CBA makes coaches, teams jointly responsible for offseason violations

  1. the 2011 and its limitations on practice time is severely limiting the quality of play imo, amazing how NFLPA can’t see that at all, i mean pre-season football was never pretty, but with this new CBA its just downright ugly.

    I’d even dare say that players are now more likely to get injured in games, and a lot of the illegal hits could be avoided if there were less restrictions on practice times.

  2. This runied USC then bailed, he is doing the same crap in the NFL. If you want to prove a point take away multiple draft picks or impose cap penalties. Have some integrity

  3. The funny thing is I read in a separate article that in order for all of this to happen a player had to have reported the contact in question. So one of their own players ratted Carroll out. I figure team meetings will be kinda awkward from now on.

  4. Fine a $8 million a year coach $100k. Fine the co-founder of MSFT $200k.

    Like writing speeding tickets at the Indy 500.

  5. Totally disagree. These are men and have earned every bit of their freedom to do as they please in the offseason. Its their own fault if they screw up, not the coaches.

  6. The violation took place on one single practice play. WR Bryan Walters made a diving catch, and Earl Thomas landed on top of him. On the play, Walters hurt his shoulder.

    This set off a war of words between DBs and WRs, which led to a fistfight between Sherman and WR Phil Bates after the next play (some of you may remember a PFT article about that a few months ago). Carroll then called the team together and asked them to refocus. The league asked for tape of the incident and issued the fine based on Thomas’ contact with Walters.

    When you have a team with the mantra “Always compete”, it can be hard to get them to tone it down. That said…anyone out there think Seattle is going to be fat, happy, and content after winning the SB, and therefore an easy target? Good luck with that.

  7. It seems like the precedent for this kind of thing is on place… Shouldn’t the NFL apply this logic to the Irsay situation with the colts, even by at least naming and shaming Irsay when handing out the fine!

  8. League trying to level the playing field. Seahawks are too good, so now they have to do it with fewer practices. Keep winning and they’ll have to have blindfolds on.

  9. There is so much grey area regarding this fine/offense. I’d like to view the tape for what constitutes competitive OTA practices vs. what the Seahawks have supposedly done.

  10. Carroll is as devious and arrogant as he is smart. He knew fully well that he was in violation of the rules. But he doesn’t care, because he’s Pete Carroll.
    And he’ll find a way to get around those practices that they’re supposedly taking away from him next year, too.

  11. Yes, the NFL has gone soft. What do they do at practice these days, sit around and sing “Kumbaya”?

  12. Pete cheated his way through the college coaching ranks, what makes you think he wouldn’t do the same in the NFL…..

  13. If you want to run your business year-round, I see nothing wrong with that. These people get paid to play football, let them get ready to do so. These aren’t kids who have to write papers for history class.

  14. No news here. Move along. Pete Carroll and cheating are no different than peanut butter & jelly, hot cakes & sausage, or Ginger Rogers & Fred Astaire. They just all go together.

  15. Well he’s always been a cheater as we all know. It was just a matter of time before he was caught in the NFL.

  16. ” But the Seahawks have become the first team to receive a fine for violating offseason rules under the new CBA”. I remember the Ravens losing a whole week of OTA’s for violating the contact portion of the OTA’s.

  17. Interesting all the other teams “not having contact practices” yet losing players to season ending injuries like Sean Lee.

    Let’s face it, the league is trying everything it can think of to knock the Hawks down because they realize no team can do so and the windows on Manning and Brady are quickly closing.

  18. In fairness, the league should take random samples of all teams off season practices. Otherwise, it looks like they are targeting the Hawks. Doesn’t matter. We will still kick your butt!

    Go Hawks!

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